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Landmark status poses new hurdle for 36-story Koreatown tower

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The tower was once expected to be complete in 2020

A rendering of a glassy 36-story mixed-use tower set to rise on Wilshire Boulevard between Serrano and Oxford.
A 2016 rendering of a project proposed for the site that was named a historic-cultural landmark earlier this month.
Via Department of City Planning

An improvised park and office building on Wilshire Boulevard have been granted city landmark status, potentially complicating plans to build a 36-story mixed-use development on the site.

The Real Deal reports that the Los Angeles City Council approved historic-cultural monument status earlier this month for the 11-story, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill-designed office building at 3700 Wilshire and for “Liberty Park,” the grassy front lawn between the building and the street. (The open space was used by locals, when vigilant security guards weren’t shooing them away.)

Landmark status complicates the efforts of property owner and developer Jamison Services to put a new tower on the grassy site. Jamison’s proposal will now need approve from the city’s Cultural Heritage Commission.

Jamison proposed the new tower in 2016 and expected to have the tower completed by 2020.

But residents quickly moved to oppose the development plans. They argued that in a neighborhood with less than one-third of the threshold for adequate park space, Koreatown should not lose an important park-like space.

Interactions between Jamison and park advocates reportedly grew acrimonious. According to The Real Deal, in February, Jamison’s founder, Dr. David Lee, allegedly told the group lobbying to preserve the park space that he would “use an AR-15 assault weapon to keep protestors off the site.”

Following the landmarking decision, a Jamison representative told The Real Deal that the company would continue to use the office building, but would not comment on next steps for the proposed project on the property.